Holocaust letters on view at C of C
A trove of Holocaust correspondence is on view through Jan. 27 on the second floor of the College of Charleston's Addlestone Library, 205 Calhoun St.
"Letters to Sala: A Young Woman's Life in Nazi Labor Camps" includes about 100 postcards, letters, photographs, documents and other materials from a collection of 300 items now part of the the Sala Garncarz Collection of the New York Public Library's Dorot Jewish Division. The exhibition of the material is sponsored by the department of theater at the College of Charleston, and precedes a college production of Arlene Hutton's play, "Letters to Sala." The play is based on a book, "Sala's Gift," by Sala Garncarz's daughter, Ann Kirschner.
The exhibit of letters and other documents, on loan from the New York Public Library and the French Children of the Holocaust Foundation, offers viewers a graphic narrative of slave labor during World War II. It is curated by Jill Vexler.
"My family and I are delighted that, through the New York Public Library's exhibition 'Letters to Sala,' the public will have the opportunity to learn my mother's incredible story of survival and courage," said Ann Kirschner in a statement. "When the world seemed entirely hostile, a young girl found refuge and hope in these remarkable letters written by her family and friends. Their words will now be preserved and made accessible to the historians and artists whose insights will help future generations to understand the lessons of the past."
Sala Garncarz was 16 in 1940 when she was sent to Geppersdorf, a German forced labor camp where Jewish men were building the autobahn and women worked in the laundry and kitchen. During five years of internment, which took her to seven different camps in Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia, Garncarz received more than 300 letters that were mailed or smuggled to her by friends and family. Remarkably, she preserved these letters in captivity and continued to hide them for nearly five decades following her liberation and subsequent marriage to an American G.I., Sidney Kirschner.
Arlene Hutton is the pen name for College of Charleston playwriting teacher Beth Lincks. Lincks will discuss her play, "Letters to Sala," at 6 p.m. Jan. 19 in Room 227 of the Addlestone Library. The college's department of theater will present the play April 14-19 at the Emmett Robinson Theatre. For tickets, call 953-6306.